In the northern suburban belt of Melbourne there lies a secret – the phenomena of the second kitchen, the one out in the garage.

Largely characterised by the building spurt of the brick veneer house / mcmansion (orange brick, red brick, Brunswick brick) built by Southern Mediterraneans who populated the northern suburbs of Coburg, Reservoir and further north (and west) and beyond since the 1970s, these Claytons kitchens are decked out in furniture from the main house that was recycled and reassembled in the garage.

Originally a result of the implicit obsessive compulsive cleaning practices of Southern Mediterranean mothers (and other mothers alike) in order to keep the kitchen in the new house clean and free of smells, the garage kitchen also saw the development of another social, culinary and industrial dimension.

Of communal activity, where the cracked crockery had a purpose. Of the creative industry, where genius is expressed in the making, such as powering the spit with a small generator and bicycle wheel. Of the happenings and the gatherings, and of the creation of a hybrid space to cook, create, invent, gather and celebrate.

We are interested in documenting the stories about the evolution of these hybrid culinary spaces, the traditional recipes practiced there, where they came from and the people who occupy them that make them unique.

This includes, the sustainable harvesting practices which take place, that have predated the environmental and social culinary pretensions having reached epic proportions in our inner urban spheres.

Moreover, we would like show the raw and honest connection of hands and minds behind the making of  unwritten recipes and the creative inventions  from our elders who have largely participated in developing the economies and character of Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs. And have these stories in perpetuity before they are lost.


Copyright @ 2014 Helen Sartinas, Kitchens in the Garage Project, All Rights Reserved.

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